Thursday, May 19, 2011

" . . . to fulfill all righteousness"

by Chet Nowlen

In my previous articles I mention that Jesus stated the importance of following His words. In this study we will begin Jesus' first words from the book of Matthew and examin why Jesus words are so important.

Baptism of Jesus

Matthew 3:13-16

"13 sThen Jesus came tfrom Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”


15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16 uWhen He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and 2He saw vthe Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 wAnd suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, x“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 3:13-17

Please also read Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23

At first glance Jesus' words to John the Baptist do not see very important, but His words here are the first that introduce to the world why He came in the form of a man.  He came to "...to fulfill all righteousness."  These words mark the beginning of His three year journey to redeem mankind from the curse of sin and death to the blessings of righteous in the eyes of God.  We have become righteous because of Jesus through faith.  We can never be made righteous by anything we can say or do.  We can only become righteous though accepting the free gift of salvation through faith.

I've heard people say, "I hope I've been good enough to make it to heaven."  Unfortunately no matter how hard we try we can never been good enough.  We can give all we have to feed the poor and we can dedicate our lives to helping the widows and orphans, but even though these works are good they do not make us righteous.  "Our righteousness is as filthy rags."  It is only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we become righteous.  Even though we still live in a spiritually week body and subject to sin, mistakes, and failure, God does not see the redeemed as we see ourselves, nor as others see us.  When God looks at the redeemed He sees Jesus in us who knew no sin, no mistakes, and no failure.

Sometimes it's hard for a person for accept the free gift of salvation is because they have trouble forgiving what others have done to them and especially cannot forgive themselves for what they've done in the past.  The key to accepting the free give of salvation is to accept that God has provided a way for you to be free of guilt and shame of your past and that's through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Once you have accepted His free gift you are free of your past and you are free to forgive yourself and others just as He has forgiven you.

If you have questions or need help accepting the free gift of salvation please feel free to send me an e-mail at welldone@comcast.net

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Your Words - Part 2

by Chet Nowlen

One thing I failed to mention in the previous article is regarding the words (seed) you say about and to other people. Whenever you talk about another person to a different person you are planting word seeds in the hearer’s heart. Who is the hearer? The first is you and the second is the person or persons that you are talking to. Whether those seed words you are saying about another person is positive or negative are being planted into the sub-consciousness of yourself and the other persons hearing what you are saying.

Have you ever noticed the feeling you get inside when you have said something negative about someone and you were surprised you said such a thing? You felt ashamed that you said such a thing, but it's too late now, it's said and you cannot take it back so you ignore the feeling and keep the conversation going. Even though you ignored what you said it still had a negative impact on your emotional feelings.

Do you remember the old saying, "If you cannot say anything good about a person then don't say anything at all." This saying is a very good saying to live by as it keeps you out of the guilt trap. Whenever we say something we regret we sub-consciously bury it so we will not have to deal with the pain and shame for out words.

Have you ever blurted out words to a loved one, friend, or even a complete stranger, that caused the hearer to be hurt, offended, and even angry. You may not have intended to hurt or offend, but sometimes the words are mistakenly presented in the wrong way. We are all guilty of saying words that unintentionally offend others. This is where we need help. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden man's tongue has been poisoned and this is why we say words we really do not mean.

The sub-conscious mind hears all the words we say, but fortunately it does not believe every word we say because it know our emotional mind is tossed to and fro just like a ship in a storm at sea. It does not take what we say seriously until it hears us say what we believe on a conscious basis. If our words are inconsistent then we will have inconsistent blessing in life. If our words are consistent then the sub-conscious mind goes into action to bring about what we say.

Negative words spoken to us, or what we heard that was said about, us have a negative impact on us because the conscious mind (emotions) is hurt or disappointed. The conscious mind has trouble dealing with these negative emotions and therefore tries to suppress these hurt feelings. People suppress hurt emotions in various ways, some turn to alcohol, some to sex, some to drugs, some get lost in their work, and some to food.

We've all experienced these negative hurtful emotions and perhaps you too have buried all these negative hurtful emotions in the lower levels of the sub-conscious so you will not have to deal with your pain. So what are we to do with this pain lurking in our sub-conscious mind that keeps trying to surface into our conscious mind with thoughts of our own self doubt?

When Jesus suffered, bled, and died on the cross He not only died for our sins, but he also paid the price so that we could be free of our negative emotions, free of our self doubt, free of hurt feelings caused by someone else’s words, free from guilt of past mistakes, and free from the shame of missed opportunities (whatever they may be). But, how can we be free of our past and current feelings that hinder our successes in life? Jesus is the High Priest of our confessions. He told us to give Him our burdens and He will give us rest. And, when we do give them to Him we are free to leave them behind. But, we are free to go back and pick them up again. Should we go back and pick them up then again then we've taken something that does not belong to us. When we take them up again we are saying that we can deal with them better than Jesus can.

You may be surprised to find that some people love misery and prefer not to give up their burdens. They actually enjoy their burdens because it gives them something complain about to others how miserable they are. I don't think they even realize what they are doing to themselves.

One final thought is one thing Jesus said, "When you stand praying . . . forgive." He's saying for us to forgive each other, but most importantly learn to forgive your self too. Once you can forgive yourself you can say like Paul said, "I have wronged no man." How can Paul say that when we know Paul once hunted and killed Christians? Paul can say that because he was forgiven of his sin and he forgave himself of what he did in the past. You can too!

Your Words are Seeds Planted in the Soil of Your Heart

by Chet Nowlen

One of the best educational tools I have ever found is iTunes so I can listen to all my favorite music and Podcasts to watch video or listen to audio of my favorite Bible teachers. There are many many Bible preachers and teachers that you can watch or listen to, but you have to be a Bible student that is familiar enough with the WORD to be able to discern what is being said. You may be surprised know that not all preachers and teachers know and understand the truth of WORD. The Bible warns us to be careful what we plant in our hearts and minds.

As I mentioned in my last article Jesus said that not all that call Him “Lord, Lord” will hear Him say to them, "Well Done . . ." instead they will hear Him say, "Depart from me you workers of iniquity." The reason I'm telling you this is if you are going to study the scriptures and study with a Bible teacher then you need to study under a Bible teacher that teaches all the truths found in the New and Old Testaments, especially the sayings of Jesus.

There are plenty "Feel Good" teachers and sermons you could listen to, but they do not plant seeds in your spiritual heart that will produce a bountiful harvest. Their words can draw large crowds and reap large collections, but they do not teach you to follow Jesus' sayings. Their words can make you feel spiritual, but their words do not teach you to trust in God and His WORD, nor increase your faith. They make you feel good for a while, but that feel good feeling will pass because you didn't learn anything that increased your faith.
The reason you have to be careful what is planted in your heart is because the mind is gateway to the heart. The mind is made up of two separate and distinct parts. There is the conscious mind which is where the brain takes in information and then files it away in areas of the brain. This filing is based on the conditioning of the brain (condition of the soil - see the parable of the sower). The conscious mind files information based on your logic, reasoning, understanding, will, and emotions. Your body reacts to events and circumstances based the conditioning of the conscious mind of what it believes and understands as truth.

What the conscious mind believes and understands can be influenced and changed by what the mind receives and accepts. That's why we have to be careful what information (seeds) we plant into the conscious mind. The reason why the reading and the study of the scriptures for your self is so important is because the mind has to be renewed daily. The truth of the WORD keeps our conscious mind from straying into thoughts of fear, doubt and unbelief. The only tool the enemy has against us is to attack out thought life with his lies he tries to plant in our conscious mind of fear, doubt, and unbelief.

The other part of the brain is our sub-conscious mind. This is the part of the brain is what keeps our bodies functioning, the heart beating, blood flowing, and constantly renewing every cell in our bodies. It does this naturally without any thinking or planning on our part. In essence this part of the brain keeps of alive until the body either wears out or stops functioning because of disease.

The sub-conscious mind has a very important job. It takes the information received and stored by the conscious mind and goes to work to cause changes in the body and your circumstances based on what you believe and understand. Now this is where it gets tricky and perhaps controversial. The sub-conscious mind takes what you think (believe) and understand and causes changes in our physical body based on your belief system (faith). Some of you may not believe or understand what I'm saying so I will give you and example. A very famous man's (I will not mention his name) mother died at age 42 and he always stated out loud that he would die at age 42. Guess what? He died at age 42!

What we say out loud is what is in our hearts and what is in our hearts is what is planted in our hearts. Whatever words we say are planted in the sub-conscious mind and the sub-conscious mind goes work to bring about whatever you say. Now keep in mind that the sub-conscious mind does not go to work just because you said it one time. The sub-conscious mind knows the conscious mind is fickle and changes frequently. The sub-conscious mind does listen to the words you say and when it hears you say it often enough then it understands that what is coming out of your heart is the desire of your heart and it will bring to pass what you are saying.

This is why the sayings of Jesus are so important for us to be a success in this life and into the next life as well. Take the time to study the words of Jesus, write down what He said and apply it to your life. Say what He said out loud and keep saying what He said. The Bible says that faith cometh by hearing and hearing the WORD of God. Every time you say what the WORD says about you, you are planting seeds of faith in your sub-conscious and then your seeds in your sub-conscious will germinate and grow because your sub-conscious accepts your words as what you accept and believe and then goes to work with the help of the Holy Spirit to bring to pass the desires of your heart.

Take a few minutes to think about your thoughts and what you think about yourself.  Do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself as if it had already happened?  Listen to your own words - are you speaking self fulfilling prophecy about yourself based on the scriptures or are they based on fear doubt and unbelief.  It's never too late to change the words we speak therefore changing the future circumstances that come our way in life.